"I made a really short interview with Mark Mitchell, GCC Release Manager. He is talking about infamous gcc-2.96 release, new features of gcc-3.0 and where should gcc go. I hope you'll like it even if it's so short."
"It's important for everyone to know that there was no version of GCC 2.96 from the FSF. I know Red Hat distributed a version that it called 2.96, and other
companies may have done that too. I only know about the Red Hat version.
It is too bad that this version was released. It is essentially a development snapshot of the GCC tree, with a lot of Red Hat fixes. There are a lot of bugs in it,
relative to either 2.95 or 3.0, and the C++ code generated is incompatible (at the binary level) with either 2.95 or 3.0. It's been very confusing to users, especially
because the error messages generated by the 2.96 release refer users back to the FSF GCC bug-reporting address, even though a lot of the bugs in that release don't
exist in the FSF releases. The saddest part is that a lot of people at Red Hat knew that using that release was a bad idea, and they couldn't convince their
management of that fact.
Partly, this release is our fault, as GCC maintainers. There was a lot of frustruation because it took so long to produce a new GCC release. I'm currently leading an
effort to reduce the time between GCC releases so that this kind of thing is less likely to happen again. I can understand why a company might need to put out an
intermediate release of GCC if we are not able to do it ourselves. That's why I think it's important for people to support independent development of GCC, which
is, of course, what CodeSourcery does. We're not affiliated with any of the distributors, and so we can act to try to improve the FSF version of GCC directly. When
people financially support our work on the releases, that helps to make sure that there are frequent enough release to avoid these problems."